Perry’s Tour de France diary: Stage 18 – Embrun to Valloire

It was a bit of an odd one today wasn’t it? 

Quintana was awesome. Alaphilippe was awesome. Team Ineos were not so awesome. 

I said yesterday that I wasn’t sure were Kwiatkowski and Poels were – and where were they today? When Dylan van Baarle fell back from the breakaway to the yellow jersey group they were riding at his pace which isn’t the pace Ineos go at so it was all a bit weird. 

Everyone was talking about Geraint Thomas attacking when Bernal went off again but Bernal said that he was told to go so it was obviously a move that was planned but it didn’t quite work.

I’ve seen a lot of people getting angry at him for attacking but it was his decision! 

Alaphilippe was just phenomenal. That descent off the Col du Galibier was just blinding – it was incredible to watch. If it hadn’t started raining, I think he’d have gone on. Obviously, the road was a bit wet so he knocked the pace off a little because he was going bloody fast.

When he caught up with the Thomas group he went from the back of it to the front in just a matter of seconds – he’s got amazing bike-handling skills. 

In the Pyrenees, I was joking about how the Arkea Samsic manager probably wanted to tear up the contract Quintana had just signed, but today I am sure he’d be quite happy because that was a real show of force.

I think he’s a minute above Mikel Landa now, we saw what he did today and tomorrow we have a lot more altitude – the Col de l’Iseran is at 2,770m and the Colombians just love altitude. 

Both tomorrow and the day after I think we’ll see him try and get a podium. I think you would if you were him, wouldn’t you? He’s leading a team so he might as well go for it. He doesn’t seem to need any help from the team to get anywhere. That was very cool from him today.

The next two finishes are mountaintop finishes and if there was a finish on Galibier today then I would have imagined that Ineos would have attacked a bit earlier. I’m just wondering if they’re lacking in firepower because going up the Galibier at van Baarle’s speed is not good enough.

When Geraint did attack the others followed and caught up with him pretty quickly. Ineos do seem to be lacking in something.

Maybe there’s a bit of illness because the team is exactly the same because Kwiatkowski just isn’t even there. He wouldn’t have been picked in the team if they didn’t think he was strong enough so it’s a bit strange. 

We’ve had a real mix of weather today – it was really hot today. It felt much hotter than the last couple of days because we were in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne in a basin so it was windy but the wind was hot because all the air was just stuck there.

It was so hot that the TV cables were starting to melt and the firemen had to come and spray the ground with water! 

On the journey to Tignes, where the stage finishes tomorrow, we were going through the valley where Albertville is and we just had thunderstorms and lightning and hailstones all the way. It was biblical weather. 

Home for the evening… Tignes is also the finish for tomorrow’s stage

The drive up the mountain to Tignes itself though was amazing – we had stunning views. The sun was just going down and the clouds were hanging in mid-air so it was this classic, beautiful Alpine, dark vistas. 

We’re now at about 2,100m and it’s 16 degrees and freezing!

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